Episode: Michelle Obama Visits a school in London
Jim Hacker (MP)
Sir Humphrey Appleby (Permanent Secretary)
Bernard Wooley (Private Secretary)
Setting – Private meeting in Ministerial office with Jim Hacker (MP), Sir Humphrey and Bernard. Seated around a table with the door firmly closed.
Hacker: Very good gentlemen, please let’s get on shall we?
Sir Humphrey & Bernard (chorus): Yes Minister
Hacker: Now about the First Lady’s visit. We need to come up with an itinerary to show her the great and the good of jolly Blighty! Suggestions….? Sir Humphrey?
Sir Humphrey: Er….Um….Yes Minister…I was thinking that after her reception at No. 10 with the Prime Minister we could whisk her off on a tour of London. Some of the high spots….possibly the Tower of London or a drive past Buck house?
Hacker: For goodness sake Humphrey, she’s the First Lady, not some chauffeured rich American tourist! We need to show her something wholesome and edifying. Something that shows Britain off as the beacon of excellence that it is. Now what about Eton or Cambridge? Surely we couldn’t do better than that?
Sir Humphrey: (Looks disapproving)
Hacker: You’ve got that look on your face again Humphrey. Come on spit it out!
Sir Humphrey: Yes (elongated)….. well….er….the thing is Minister I have a feeling that she might feel, well…a little….intimidated.
Hacker: Why on earth should she? Eton is the seat of learning for the top people in the country. Surely the President of the United States’ wife could identify with what makes a country great?
Sir Humphrey: …..I’m not sure it quite the right place….(still with a pained look on his face)
Hacker: For goodness sake! I’m at a loss….why on earth…
Bernard: (Interrupts) Excuse me Minister, if I may. I think what Sir Humphrey may be alluding to is the fact that she’s…well….er…she’s black.
Hacker: BERNARD!! (Shouts). You can’t say that!! That’s out and out racism!
Bernard:….but I’m just pointing out Minister…
Sir Humphrey: (resigned attitude) Yes..thank you Bernard. Actually Minister. Bernard has a point.
Hacker: (jumps in quickly) I don’t care what point he has, we can’t go around acknowledging she’s er…well..black. The press would have a field day! Not to mention the P.M. would be made to look a complete idiot if we rounded up all the African immigrants in London and introduced them to her. Besides that, there aren’t any schools in the whole country that are entirely black…..are there?
Sir Humphrey: (looks non-plussed and tries to say words but nothing comes out)
Bernard: well actually Minister there’s…
Sir Humphrey: (retorts snappily) Very good Bernard. I think you’ve said enough for one morning.
Hacker: No, Bernard go on. I want to hear it.
Bernard: (Very hesitantly) Well Minister, given that the First Lady is black and we all know that the President is black, and there are lots of black people in the USA that have some residual feelings about persecution and what not, would it not be prudent to try to, well….make her feel a bit more at home. (pauses)
Hacker: Go on….
Bernard: Well I was thinking….there’s quite a bit of talk about the President being quite friendly with Muslims. So I was thinking, well as a sort of compromise, why don’t we find a school for girls, that’s filled with Muslims. I imagine she would love that.
Hacker: Humphrey, what do you think about this? It sounds to me like it’s nothing short of being sycophantic to me!
Sir Humphrey: (looking very thoughtful) Well Minister….it might be possible…after all the last thing we need is for the First Lady to think we are racist. I mean it’s a well known fact that Britain is awash with….I mean….er… has a lot of ethnic minority immigrants, so surely it wouldn’t seem out of place to take her to a school that duly represents the healthy mix of ethnic diversity we have here in Britain.
Hacker: Hmmmm……You may be right Humphrey.
Sir Humphrey: Indeed Minister. I think Mrs Obama will go away with EXACTLY the right impression about us here in Britain.
Hacker: Good. That’s settled them. Any particular school in mind?
Sir Humphrey: (turns to Bernard) Bernard?
Bernard: Yes Minister. I do in fact know of a girl’s school. It’s in Tower Hamlets. The Mullberry School for Girls.
Hacker: That’s champion! Right Humphrey. See to it will you. After all, we must keep the Americans happy!
Sir Humphrey & Bernard: (in unison) Yes Minister!
Hacker sitting at his desk having just picked up the Telegraph and looks in astonishment at the front page.
Headline: First Lady Appeased by Politically Correct School Visit
Hacker: (Shouts loudly) HUMPHREY!!!!